Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The folks of St. Louis are still talking about the massive freeway crash that occurred Tuesday afternoon during rush hour. Three people have now died, and several are still in the hospital.

For those not from our area, the interchange between our Highway 40 (Interstate 64) and southbound I270 is incredibly busy in the afternoon rush hour. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for people to be forced to slow or even stop in the rightmost lane. Tuesday afternoon, a semi-truck hauling scrap aluminum hit, and literally ran over ten cars. Two people died immediately, and a third died today. Two of the three who died were Amish, traveling in a hired van heading to a funeral.

All the facts aren’t in and the police haven’t issued a report yet, but one thing is known: the truck driver was not paying attention before he hit the cars. A person driving besides the truck, who ended up getting hit by one of the cars knocked over the truck, estimated it was going 75 MPH when it hit the cars, and with no slowing down.

No charges have been filed yet. The driver has a clean record, and is emotionally wrecked, as you can imagine.

Tonight, one of the local news stations reported that the driver was distracted by a cellphone call just before the accident. I don’t think any of us are surprised.

The biggest cause of accidents, in this area and most likely elsewhere, is people not paying attention. They talk on the phone, they eat, try to read the newspaper while waiting at lights, check their email, and probably send Twitter updates. We travel in vehicles weighing thousands of pounds, traveling at high speeds, surrounded by other big, fast moving vehicles, and seem to think it’s perfectly acceptable to have a phone conversation with Joe, or quickly check that email from Jane—not to mention drinking hot coffee, smoking cigarettes that drop hot ash, or fiddling with the in-dash GPS, iPod, or radio.

Needless to say, the accident has awakened the call to make cellphone use while driving illegal. We shouldn’t need a law, though. We have something between our ears called a brain.

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